Start/Sit PLUS: Devonta Smith, Odell Beckham Jr, Devontae Booker (2021 Fantasy Football)
It’s Week 6, and that means byes have arrived! There are not many massive names taking the week off. In fact, more studs are out due to injury, but it’s still enough to start challenging your roster’s depth, making your decisions this week all the more important. Let’s get into some Start/Sit plus: We’ll be looking at six categories (which are described in detail here in our Week 1 article). And to ensure total transparency, I’ll also note at the bottom of each section how I went in last week’s article (I’ve logged it as 56 hits and 24 misses, meaning a 69% success rate so far this season, but you be the judge). If you disagree or have start/sit questions, hit me up on Instagram or Twitter.
Editor’s Note: Ben finished No. 24 overall in 2020 in-season fantasy football accuracy and No. 3 overall in Rest of Season accuracy for 2020. He’s currently No. 14 overall in the 2021 in-season accuracy competition.
Every-week starters, regardless of matchup
Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR)
Hold up, haven’t we done this before, twice? Yep, Stafford somehow remains on the cusp for a lot of people. He’s regularly putting in solid performances without really blowing up, thanks to a lack of touchdowns. The passing yards are there, though, and the Rams have a run of excellent QB matchups, so you needn’t waste a valuable roster spot on a backup QB. Just roll with Stafford!
Darrel Williams (RB – KC)
For the next three weeks, the Chiefs’ backup is a solid start in fantasy. While not guaranteed to get all of the receiving work, we’ve seen that Andy Reid trusts Williams around the goal line and views him as the main man. He’s a low-end RB2 this week in Washington, then has a number of positive matchups after that, so you can confidently start him while CEH is out.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
The usage and success of Samaje Perine last week could freak out a lot of Mixon owners, but the fact your guy was even out there was a great sign. Now facing a juicy matchup against the league’s worst run defense and with Perine on the Covid list, Mixon is a must-start going forward.
DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI)
The Eagles rookie has emerged as the clear number one in the Philly receiver room. He has a fantastic matchup with the iffy Tampa Bay secondary up on Thursday night, and Dallas Goedert is likely out for this week. He’s starting to look a whole lot like an every-week starter!
Michael Pittman (WR – IND)
With the awful Texans on deck (who teams, to be fair, don’t really need to throw on) and the clear WR1 role in Indy, Pittman is a starter for me every week there are byes. He’s unlikely to be even a WR2 in rankings, but he does enough to make him a weekly flex and bye-week replacement. As a bonus, he’s due more touchdown regression as he’s getting a heap of red-zone looks.
Hunter Henry (TE – NE)
I’ve been hyping up Hunter Henry for weeks, and I’m finally ready to consider him an every-week starter. However, that’s mainly due to the lack of other options rather than anything he’s doing particularly well. He’s superior to the other TE2s, and with so many injuries, he’s a solid starting bet most weeks compared to the alternatives.
Zach Ertz (TE – PHI)
Ertz has slowly been taking over from Dallas Goedert as the pass-catching tight end in Philly. With Goedert on the Covid list just days from TNF, Ertz is left as the clear starter. Whether he remains an every-week starter moving forward remains to be seen, but for now, he’s a guy that needs to be rostered and started in all leagues.
Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)
I’ve been putting off doing this for weeks, but it’s becoming abundantly clear that Schultz is the receiving tight end in Dallas, with Blake Jarwin‘s route numbers finally dropping off. While he’s not a reliable option, he’s still a clear starter most weeks, given the lack of other options available.
- Zack Moss (RB – BUF)
- Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN)
- Robert Woods (WR – LAR)
- Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA) – Yes, he’s still a clear starter.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DST – TB)
Consider benching if you have a viable alternative
Geno Smith (QB – SEA)
With Russell Wilson out for the next month or so, there will be a temptation to start Geno Smith instead. Let’s cool that a little bit. Smith is a solid NFL backup, but he’s no Russ, and he’s not the guy to overcome the Steelers’ defense and turn in a strong fantasy performance. There’s a good chance Pete Carroll will try to slow the game down, play as few snaps as possible, and grind out a win. Geno is best left on waivers outside Superflex leagues.
Derek Carr (QB – LV)
The Raiders passing offense started the season like a house on fire but has stalled in the last few weeks. The Broncos are not the team you should expect them to kick off against, though. Carr isn’t a guy I’d want to start if I’m not desperate.
Alex Collins (RB – SEA)
There’s a lot of talk Chris Carson will miss another week, but even if that happens, I’m avoiding starting Alex Collins if I can. The Steelers matchup is brutal for running backs, and Collins isn’t getting much receiving work, so he really needs a touchdown to pay off. That’s a big risk to take with your starter, even if you’re in bye week trouble.
Devontae Booker (RB – NYG)
If Saquon Barkley, one of the league’s best and most elusive runners, has struggled behind the Giants line, what makes you think Booker will have success? The hope is that he falls into the end zone again this week, but if he doesn’t, you could very easily end up with a single-digit score.
Odell Beckham Jr (WR – CLE)
The Browns have proven time, and again they have an elite running game, making their receivers risky propositions at best. While OBJ is an amazing talent, he just can’t be trusted most weeks, despite the solid matchup against the Cardinals. If you can fade him, I would.
Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG)
Remember last week when I suggested streaming Toney? Well, now is the time to stop. The Giants rookie has a new injury, a tough matchup against the Rams, and as many as three receivers returning to the lineup. I’d personally prefer to see where he sits in this depth chart before using him in fantasy. That being said, if Shepard and Golladay remain out, he’s an acceptable start this week.
Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN)
Unsurprisingly, after his Week 3 ‘breakout,’ Conklin has crashed back to earth. This offense simply does not allow us to trust its tight ends, whether it’s Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith, or now the Conk.
Jonnu Smith (TE – NE)
It’s time to give up on Smith. The Patriots will continue to get him involved on little trick plays, but he’s mostly blocking or on the sidelines. He’s still a great stash if Hunter Henry gets injured, but I wouldn’t be starting him any time soon.
David Njoku (TE – CLE)
After his Week 5 explosion, people have been clamoring for the former first-round pick. He’s a worthwhile roster stash just to see what happens, but there’s no way I’m starting him as this feels like an Uzomah-esque fluke.
- Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)
- Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
- AJ Dillon (RB – GB)
- Latavius Murray (RB – BAL)
- Tim Patrick (WR – DEN)
- Allen Robinson (WR – CHI)
- Tommy Tremble (TE – CAR)
OK: Rondale Moore
Players you wouldn’t normally start who should have a good week
Taylor Heinicke (QB – WAS)
I spoke about Heinicke being a great stash last week, and he’s now a super streaming option if you lost Russell Wilson or have some issues at QB. The Chiefs have been the easiest matchup in the league for quarterbacks, and that should continue this week in what could easily become a shootout with the Washington defense having surprising struggles this season.
Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC)
Teams are finding the Dolphins very easy to pick apart both through the air and on the ground. With Tua back, it’s possible Miami can put on enough scoreboard pressure to force a comeback by the Jaguars, and that would be great news for their rookie leader Trevor Lawrence.
Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI)
While most fantasy owners were rushing to pick up Darrel Williams and Devontae Booker, the Bears rookie remained on waivers, and rightly so, frankly. He’s probably just the backup to Damien Williams, but with limited options available, Herbert may be your best bet due to his possible volume. It’s risky, though, so be warned!
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – BUF)
With the Bills playing a lot more 2WR sets, Sanders has emerged as the clear WR2 behind Stefon Diggs, often finishing in front of his stud teammate in fantasy. With the awful Titans secondary up next, Sanders is a must-start this week.
Laviska Shenault (WR – JAC)
This is very much a risky play. The Dolphins are a great team to target for WRs, but it’s very possible James Robinson just runs all over them. With so few receiving options for big Trev, Shenault seems like he could be a solid but risky play.
Ricky Seals-Jones (TE – WAS)
With Logan Thomas on IR, Seals-Jones has slid into the same starting role and was very busy in Week 5, pulling in five of his eight targets. The yardage didn’t match the opportunity, but he’s got a big chance to do even better against the Chiefs in Week 6.
Mo Alie-Cox (TE – IND)
I don’t really believe in any of the Colts’ tight ends, this feels like a committee, but with the Texans and their awful tight end defense on deck, Alie-Cox is a solid desperation option.
- Joe Burrow (QB – CIN)
- Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA)
- Javonte Williams (RB – DEN)
- Jd Mckissic (RB – WAS)
- amon-Ra St Brown (WR – DET)
- Jalen Reagor (WR – PHI)
- Evan Engram (TE – NYG)
- Evan McPherson (K – CIN)
- Chase McLaughlin (K – CLE)
- Dallas Cowboys (DST – DAL)
- Indianapolis Colts (DST – IND)
Pick up and bench
Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA)
The Dolphins have looked a mess since Tua went down in Week 2. I wouldn’t want to start him the first week back, but Miami has a nice Week 7 matchup with the Falcons, so it would be reasonable to stash Tagovailoa for that game if you have Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, or Dak Prescott as your starter and a lack of options on waivers.
Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)
A lot of you are probably giving up on Ryan Tannehill after his tough run of games, receiver injuries, and awkward Week 6 matchup. While I don’t like holding two quarterbacks, the Titans meet the Chiefs in Week 7, and that’s QB gold, so hold on for one week longer, and you’ll reap the benefits.
Backup Running Backs
I say this every week, stash backup running backs! Most of the best options are now starters or unavailable but here are a few who may be there: AJ Dillon, Kenneth Gainwell, Sony Michel, Jeremy McNichols.
Ty’Son Williams (RB – BAL)
After being a healthy scratch in Week 4, Ty’Son Williams reappeared in Week 5 and looked pretty mediocre. That means he’s probably available in your league. If anyone is going to really break out in the Baltimore backfield, it’ll be Williams, though at this stage it’s looking unlikely so only stash him in deep leagues.
Terrace Marshall (WR – CAR)
Just quietly, the Panthers have begun using a few more 3WR sets and bringing Marshall into the game. It hasn’t transitioned into points yet, but he’s a worthwhile stash in case he does emerge or if DJ Moore catches the injury bug haunting most teams at the moment.
Dan Arnold (TE – JAC)
This is really easy. Trevor Lawrence has consistently wanted to use his tight ends, and Dan Arnold is the main man in that room. While Jacob Hollister fluked a touchdown, it was Arnold taking eight targets for 64 yards. He’s a great stash and even a desperation start. He is one of a few players with true top 10 upside.
- Marlon Mack (RB – IND)
- James Washington (WR – PIT)
- Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL)
- Tyrell Williams (WR – DET)
- Hayden Hurst (TE – ATL)
Players who will likely lose value in the future to sell now
Justin Herbert (QB – LAC)
Herbert had a sensational Week 5, totally against my expectations, but you shouldn’t expect that to continue indefinitely. The Chargers have an awkward Ravens matchup followed by a bye, then the strong Patriots defense up next, so you’re not going to get more QB1 performances from the LA chucker in the near future. Now’s the time to take your profit and run.
Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA)
After weeks of mediocrity, Gaskin came out of nowhere to finish as the RB4 against one of the league’s best run defenses. How, you may ask. Well, he caught 10 passes for 74 yards and two TDs. It’s that simple. With DeVante Parker and Tua Tagovailoa likely back this week, it’s unlikely we see anything like that sort of performance again, keeping in mind Gaskin has only 34 rushes on the whole season to this point. If you can get anything for him at all, do it!
Marquez Callaway (WR – NO)
In the last two weeks, Callaway has finally emerged as the Saints WR1, scoring some totally bizarre touchdowns. With the Saints on bye and Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith close to a return, he’s not a guy worth holding if you can get anything for him at all on the open market.
Dawson Knox (TE – BUF)
I’ve grown to love Knox, and he is at the moment an every-week starter, but his value is unlikely to be this high for the rest of the season. If you can snag a true starter like Gronk or Darren Waller or use him to upgrade another position, do it, do it now.
- Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
- Michael Carter (RB – NYJ)
- Mike Davis (RB – ATL)
- Sony Michel (RB – LAR)
- Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
- Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
- Mike Evans (WR – TB)
- Mark Andrews (TE – BAL)
- Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)
Drop, assuming a viable alternative is available
Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
The Bears brass has done nothing to suggest they will formulate an offense that benefits their rookie QB. After five straight weeks failing to earn double-digit fantasy points, it’s time to give up, for the time being at least.
Trey Lance (QB – SF)
I suggested the risk here last week, and it seems to have come to pass. The 49ers have a bye this week, and there’s a good chance Jimmy G takes back the starting job in Week 7 due to the rookie’s mediocre play and injury concern.
Trey Sermon (RB – SF)
If you have Sermon on your team, you’ll know he touched the ball just once on two snaps in Week 5. With the 49ers on a bye and Jeff Wilson back soon, the odds of Sermon becoming fantasy-relevant are extremely low.
Cameron Brate (TE – TB)
Gronk is out for at least one more week, but it’s unclear who the true pass catcher is in Tampa’s tight end room. It’s best avoided altogether.
- Mac Jones (QB – NE)
- Phillip Lindsay (RB – HOU)
- Malcolm Brown (RB – MIA)
- Larry Rountree (RB – LAC)
- Bryan Edwards (WR – LV)
- Donald Parham (TE – LAC)
- Cole Kmet (TE – CHI)
- Ryan Succop (K – TB)
- Tristan Vizcaino (K – LAC)
- New England Patriots (DST – NE)
- Chicago Bears (DST – CHI)
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